East Meadow High School took a nine-hour flight to Greece that was worth the wait on April 12. Junior and senior students from the school’s Business Honor Society, National Honor Society, Academy of Finance and students who take AP classes were eligible to take a trip to Greece. The students took a nine-day trip exploring parts of Santorini, Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi Turkey, Patmos, Rhodes, and Crete.
Students noticed many differences compared to the culture they are used to every day in America, they said. Compared to the United States, Greece had many unique features that make it the fascinating country that it is today. The shape and size of the cars and the styles and structures of the buildings were something that really stood out to junior Sammy Hauser.
“The atmosphere of Greece was a bit different, there were a lot of stray cats and dogs [and] almost all the food we saw was different than the food that we are used to in America,” Hauser said. “We didn’t see much English written anywhere. Most of the writing was in Greek, but the restaurant menus were in about six different languages, which was pretty cool.”
Communication was tough at first for some students, but luckily most of the Greek residents spoke or understood a little bit of English. In certain parts of Greece, students learned English at just the start of elementary school.
About forty juniors and seniors at EMHS who take a foreign language class, including American Sign Language, Spanish, Italian or French, took a separate European odyssey. They visited cities including Dublin, York, Cambridge, London and Paris. This trip was also nine days trip as they left on April 12 and came back the 20.
“The biggest difference is the atmosphere,” said Senior Julia Lamartina. “There is just something about the air, the people, and the buildings. It is like it takes you back in history.”
Lamartina said that America could learn from the organized recycling seen in Europe, as it has separate bins for different items.
Some parts of Europe were tougher to communicate in than others. Not knowing the language in a country is already difficult for tourists getting around, but Lamartina said the hardest part was trying to order food or buy something. “In Dublin and London the language barrier was okay,” she said. “But in Paris I had some difficulty. I am just glad we didn’t get lost.”
This was more than just a vacation for Lamartina, she said, as it helped her decide her major for college: hospitality and tourism. While traveling she realized aspects about herself she did not know she had, adding that she realized she is a very hospitable person. Going to hotels in different countries helped her discover that she can work in a different country or stay home but be able to go somewhere else for her job.
“To me traveling is very important,” she said. “I worked many hours so I could pay for the trip. The money part is hard but traveling is something that is worth the money and the energy.”
“The trip was worth it,” she said. “I went last year and again this year because I had the time of my life. I made new friends and great memories. It is a great way to travel because everything is planned out for you and you even get enough free time to do what you want. These trips made me realize I love to travel.”